A few days before those comments in Madison, the indispensable Dr. Kreeft was here in Steubenville where he spoke to a capacity, standing-room-only crowd in Christ the King Chapel. His topic: “How to Win the Culture War: A Christian Battle Plan for a Culture in Crisis.”
He gives the bulk of the talk in the person of Screwtape, C.S. Lewis’ advisorial senior demon, who instructs Wormwood on how they (i.e., the powers of hell) can win the culture war. He breaks it down into seven thoughts and motives to continuously plant into the minds of Catholics, especially theologians and bishops.
The seven, briefly: 1) “Politicization of the faith so that secular politics becomes the end and faith the means; 2) incessant “Happy talk” that only serves to distract or delude us from the true destruction of society around us; 3) “Organizationalism,” by which the Church is seen as a business or organization first and a distant second (if at all) as a community, family, mystical body; 4) “Neo-worship,” or worship of things new at the expense of the old, in particular the rejection of things “pre-Vatican II”; 5) “Egalitarianism,” manifested most especially in modern feminism, with the awesome quip, “calling those people ‘feminists’ is like calling cannibals ‘chefs.’”; 6) “Yuppydom,” which is essentially selling out to the fads of the times rather than holding God as God; 7) “Spirituality,” in which Christians seek salvation, or at least affirmation, while recoiling at the thought of suffering—they want Christ without the cross.
You can remember these by the seven letters I capitalized: P.H.O.N.E.Y.S.
The real strength of the talk is his style of presentation, his examples, his turns of phrase, and his single-focus on Christ and His Church as the only means of the only thing that matters: salvation for all who will accept it.
I must confess that some of what he proposes is a “hard teaching” for me personally, and I have to examine some of my own thought processes and positions in light of what he points out.
It’s a Saturday, so you can spare the 45 minutes to listen to the whole thing. And you really ought to listen to the whole thing.
And if you have time, for some levity, you might find it interesting that in the hours before he took on the culture war, he took on a ping-pong match in St. Francis Hall: